Ding Junhui is the first man into the International Championship final after a 9-4 victory over Judd Trump earlier in China.
The home favourite, champion of this event in 2013 when it was previously staged in Chengdu, was always in control after nicking the opening two scrappy frames.
The 29 year-old kept Trump in his seat and potless for the subsequent four frames to establish an ultimately insurmountable 6-0 advantage.
Although his English opponent briefly rallied by claiming four out of the next five frames to get back to just three frames behind, an excellent 134 total clearance from Ding followed by a 72 sent him over the winning line.
The encounter between the duo, two of the game’s leading talents, had been billed as a clash of the most in-form players this season.
However, Trump looked a tad jaded after his exploits in October which saw him capture the inaugural European Masters trophy in Romania and then reach the final of the English Open in Manchester.
Ding skipped the tournament in Bucharest and has probably benefited in the sense that he is now well-placed to pocket the lucrative winner’s cheque of £125,000 on home soil.
Triumph on Sunday in Daqing would be the world number six’s second ranking title of the season, and second in China following his success in September’s Shanghai Masters.
In addition, Ding also triumphed in the 6 Red World Championship so has certainly carried forward the reignited form which saw him finish runner-up to Mark Selby in the World Championship in May.
Selby, of course, features in the second semi-final clash on Saturday against Stuart Bingham.
Ding has happy recent memories of facing both cueists having tasted revenge for the Crucible defeat against Selby in the Shanghai showdown for glory, as well as denying Bingham the 6 Reds trophy in Bangkok.
Furthermore, a win for Ding would put him alone in sixth place on the all-time ranking event winners’ list with 13 titles – just five shy of Welsh legend Mark Williams.
Selby or Bingham will have a lot to say about that obviously, with their intriguing battle of the top two ranked players in the world taking place tomorrow.
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